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14 People Become Ill in North Dakota Laundromat

WATFORD CITY – An incident at a laundromat here has sent 14 people to the hospital for treatment.

Shortly before noon Sunday, Watford City police and first responders received a call about an 18-year-old woman who had passed out at Express Laundry Center. The woman was taken to a local hospital for treatment, according to a statement from the North Dakota Department of Health.

Soon after the first call came in, other people using the laundromat either went to the hospital or were taken by first responders. None of the injuries were believed to be life threatening, the statement said.

Initial reports indicate that exhaust from a malfunctioning boiler was venting into the laundromat. The statement also said a graffiti degreaser and bleach mixture used to treat clothes and a high concentration of carbon monoxide in the air may also have caused people to become ill.

“The place is shut down until the building inspectors can come in and take a look at it. It could be a few days, it could be a week,” said Jerry Samuelson with McKenzie County Emergency Management.

The facility’s gas line has been shut off for safety precautions and the facility will remain closed until a full investigation has taken place. Watford City emergency personnel and officials from North Dakota Department of Health’s environmental response team were on the scene Sunday evening to further investigate the incident.